CAPE TOWN - Germany will need to replace
suspended four-time goal scorer Thomas Mueller when they take on
Spain in their World Cup semi-final on Wednesday but that will
be no problem for coach Joachim Low.
The 20-year-old winger has wreaked havoc in his first major
tournament, scoring his fourth goal in Germany's 4-0 demolition
of Argentina on Saturday to advance to the last four but coach
Low knows no one in his young squad is irreplaceable.
"Obviously this will be a blow for us given the goal threat
that Thomas has been here," said the 50-year-old coach, after
his player was booked for a handball and must now sit out their
match against the European champions.
"But we have players who can replace Thomas and we will
manage that," he said.
Muller, who only won his first international cap in March
in a friendly against Argentina and was one of Loew's last
call-ups for Germany's youngest World Cup squad since 1934, has
been crucial to their fast-paced style of attacking football.
A somewhat harsh referee decision means, however, he will
miss the biggest match of his young career.
But Low's words, only a few days before their sensational
quarter-final victory against the much-fancied Argentines, now
seem to have been prophetic.
"I do not try to find a tactic to fit the players that I
have," he had said earlier this week. "I want players who can
apply my tactics and vision of football, what I want to see on
the pitch and this is how I select them."
WELL OILED MACHINE
It is this concept that has created a well oiled attacking
machine that marches on despite any injuries or suspensions.
There seems to be a seamless transition when players replace
The injury of then captain Michael Ballack that ruled him
out of the World Cup was absorbed almost immediately.
Striker Miroslav Klose was suspended for their final group
game against Ghana but his absence was not felt as Cacau slipped
into his role with Germany winning 1-0.
Left-back Jerome Boateng has replaced Holger Badstuber after
the first two matches with the backline now looking stronger
The same will no doubt happen against Spain with Stefan
Kiessling being drawn out to the wing or even Mario Gomez
slipping into Muller's role.
Cacau, fit after an abdominal muscle strain, is also an
option despite being a more centrally active forward.
While playing with only one out-and-out striker until now,
Low has repeatedly said a two-pronged attack is always an
option for his extremely flexible team.
He seems more interested in wanting to keep his players'
feet firmly on the ground.
"We must now emotionally not go over the top"," he said.
"Until now I have never got that impression. Obviously the joy
was there in the changing room but all players were already
"We are in the semis but the tournament is still ongoing. It
is important to focus on the next job at hand," Low said.
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